Sandvik Bolter Miners MB750 (previously known as ABM 30) are ranked No.1 and 2 in the 2008 South African room and pillar coal production statistics. The best performing room and pillar section was Tavistock Colliery's section 4, producing 1.249 Mt of ROM coal between January and December 2008. An MB750 is being used there as the production machine, cutting, in a single pass, 3.4 m high and 6.6 m wide, in combination with two shuttle cars. The second Bolter Miner section at Tavistock produced more than 1 Mt. The mine is operating a Fulco shift system, seven days, 24 hrs, stopping for one shift per week to do maintenance.

In addition to the great performance at Tavistock, two Sandvik Bolter Miners at Syferfontein Colliery also produced in excess of 1.2 Mt each in the same period, cutting 4.5 m high and 6.6 m wide. These machines are used in combination with a continuous haulage system. Syferfontein operates a two-shift system, five days per week. The third shift is scheduled for maintenance.

These record-performing Bolter Miners are regularly maintained and supervised by Sandvik Mining and Construction service engineers as part of service contracts. A total of 34 machines are currently operated under service contracts to guarantee top performance at all times.

John Chadwick is editor/proprietor of International Mining magazine -